Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”
Matthew 1:21, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”
It won’t be long now and we’ll be celebrating yet another Christmas. What does Christmas mean to you? What comes to your mind as you prepare for Christmas 2013? Would it be decorating the Christmas tree or maybe singing Christmas carols? Could it be making candy, baking cakes and lots of cookies? What about the giving and receiving of presents? The parties you will have to attend or maybe it’s getting together with loved ones, friends and co-workers? Is it the time you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ? A time to pause and praise God for the marvelous gift of His love? Galatians 4:4 says, “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.” Yes, God’s Son really did enter this world at a certain point in human history. There is no question about it. He did come! He did live! He did die! He did arise from the dead! The exact date is incidental, but the fact that He came to earth means everything, for “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Perhaps you don’t celebrate His birth at all during the Christmas season? Sadly, in all the busyness, the party-going, gift-shopping, and family gatherings, the One whose birthday we are commemorating is practically forgotten and ignored all together. The glitter of bright decorations, the sound of joyous Christmas carols, the happy children, and the cheerful “Merry Christmas” greetings sometimes give the impression that everyone is thankful that Jesus came to our planet. However, that isn’t true today, and it never was. The news of Jesus’ birth evoked a mixed reaction. An angel brought “good tidings of great joy.” The shepherds and wise men welcomed the Savior. However, Herod was so troubled when he heard about it that he tried to kill the baby Jesus.
Moreover, the religious leaders of that day were so very indifferent that they failed to send a delegation to Bethlehem to find out what had happened. Even today there is still differing reactions! Thousands honor Jesus and rejoice in their salvation while countless others hate Him and have succeeded in outlawing the singing of Christmas carols in shopping malls and the display of nativity scenes in public places. While still others are apathetic; they go along with the celebration of the season and even join in singing Christmas carols, but they never ask themselves who Jesus is or why He came. They don’t think of their responsibility to believe on Him and receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior.
I don’t know about you but one of my favorite movies I enjoy watching during this time of year is Frank Capra’s 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Although it wasn’t a hit when it debuted, it has become a Christmas classic. In a Time magazine essay, Roger Rosenblatt pondered the film’s continuing appeal. He concluded that the story is really about friendship. That helps to explain why we often feel choked up as we watch George Bailey’s family and friends rally around him in his time of greatest need. Rosenblatt said, “Just when George thinks he’s alone in the world, the world shows up to declare it love for him.”
My brethren, that sentence seems to capture the essence of our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s promised gift to us. Just when we thought we were alone in the world, Christ came to declare God’s love for us. Not only did God send His Son into the world at exactly the right time (Galatians 4:4-5), but He also demonstrated “His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That’s the message of Christmas that opens the door to a wonderful life, the joy of knowing Christ and living in His love. Someone put it this way, “You can’t truly celebrate Christ’s birth until you’ve invited Him into your heart.” The all important question that remains is:
(1) Have you received the gift of eternal life that He offers to you? If not, do so today.
A wonderful life is yours when you know the Christ of Christmas.